Adoption – Not JUST adopting

Okay,so I shared last time that we have matched and that I wasn’t going to share much more other than we’ll know more in the next month (as in the expectant mother is due within the next month). Well, after thinking about it I think there is some stuff I can share.

1. We’re planning on an open adoption. I think I probably need to explore what we mean by open adoption here as talking with family and friends I realize that Green and I have been immersed in thinking about adoption and specifically open adoption for several years and our friends for the most part have not. We believe that open adoption is the best interest of the adopted child. We’re meeting with the expectant mother and her child pretty often right now, to plan and get to know each other – to build a strong foundation for an open adoption.

2. We’ve questioned ourselves, questioned the nature of adoption, questioned ourselves again. After meeting this expectant mother I have put some (only some*) of my concerns about adoption to rest. I firmly believe that there are times when adoption can be an appropriate choice, that respect should be shown for the expectant parents’ choice to place their child within another family that they feel can parent and raise their child. That this isn’t just about poverty, but that poverty compounds may other issues, and yes a better social safety net would help, but it would not cure all ills. We must all work to address to build a strong social safety net.

3. *There are horrific ethical problems with the adoption ‘industry’ in this country, maybe in all countries. Our little local agency seems to be basically above the fray so far so I should say there are some wonderful people involved too, but I’m fairly disgusted by many attitudes and practices that seem to be prevalent. There are organizations that work to right these wrongs.

4. The woman we’re talking with is not a birthmother, she is an expectant mother. If, and that is a big IF, she chooses to place her child with us she will still be his first mother, Green and I will be his mom and dad. He will have a sibling in Bean and another sibling who we hope he will know through pretty frequent visits.

5. We do not believe that some super natural being, be it God or some other being, planned this child to be with us. And really that would be some sucky arse God to rain down that kind of mess of awful problems that put this expectant mother in a horrible position where this was a decision she is considering. I have to tell you that without a doubt her decision is based firmly in love and firmly in her maternal need to protect her children, and when the time comes she may well make the decision that the best way to do that is to parent.

6. Explaining to a 4.5 year old that they may have a sibling, and more extended family, in the next month, but then again they may not, is really tough. Thinking about how an additional child in the house will effect the relationship between child and parent can be kind of tough anyway. Add the uncertainty of adoption and it makes my brain hurt. Advice gladly accepted.

Yeah, so JUST adopting would suggest that this was a decision made lightly, that while it hopefully will have a whole bunch of incredibly positive aspects, it also has some significant complications and ethical dilemmas that must be addressed. My brain hurts and my heart sings, soars and breaks all at the same time.



Filed under Adoption

25 responses to “Adoption – Not JUST adopting

  1. First off, YAY! Exciting to hear that you’ve been matched… Second, just thought I’d chime in to say that I am a huge believer in open adoption. There will be ups and downs in the days and months ahead, I will be thinking about you and sending positive thoughts your way.

  2. Very exciting. I admire you immensely both for – obviously – adopting, and also for how straightforward and honest you are about everything. Your motivations, beliefs, intentions, love. It can only strengthen the love and bonds within your family.

  3. Congratulations! I empathize with your roller coaster of emotions. We have a biological 4.5 year old daughter, and we chose to become a resource family (aka foster family).
    The day that her brothers were placed with us she was napping. She went to sleep a single child and awoke to two siblings. We had attempted to explain that they MAY go back to their birth family, they MAY stay with us, they WILL be here for a long time, they are siblings now, but MAY not always be, before the placement. All of these things can be difficult for an adult to understand. We were blessed to be told about the book Maybe Days.
    I don’t know about any specific books that you can read to Bean, but, I think that you are doing to correct thing is keeping her in the loop. Be completely honest with her. Obviously she doesn’t need to know all the details that adults know, since it will just boggle her mind a little more, but tell her.
    Tell her that this lady is expecting a baby and has a hard choice to make and is considering letting the baby come live with you. Tell her that it would be great because it would grow your family from 3 to 6 overnight! (You might want to pick a special pet name for expectant mom and other sibling of baby) Kids are extremely resilient through change and incredibly accepting of all forms of family.
    I know that I don’t have “answers” but you did ask for suggestions. I hope that I haven’t offended in any way that I might have worded things, but have clearly communicated the feelings more than the words. I enjoy reading the saga of another family in the desert growing their family through, shall we say, less than conventional means. Keep up the good work!

  4. Sara, Thank you so much for your response. You didn’t offend at all. It has been interesting to watch Bean and the expectant mom’s daughter interact. She is older by about 3 years. They’re talking about what might be and trying to negotiate it too. Will they view each other as sisters? I hope at some point. Cousins? Related, certainly. Are you in the desert too. Your blog I think is private. Anyway, come back and visit again. I’d love to hear from you and of your journey too. I’ll go check out Maybe Days too.

  5. Hi! I just got your message on It sounds like we have a lot in common. I’ll be really interested to hear how the open adoption works out. We are hoping to have some openness in our relationship with our future children’s families as well, but with them being in Ethiopia it will be harder. It’s the main reason we picked Ethiopia though, because contact between the families is facilitated. Good luck as you move forward.

  6. We’re here to support you in real life, however things go. You’ll need it either way!

  7. Family

    And of course the open-adoption raises some deep issues with own families.
    Open adoption was a completely new concept to this little branch of your family and presents some challenges – including the potential heart ache for you all if it does not go all to plan. Being an expert in worrying in advance does not help! No good being told not to – the world of ‘ifs’ is open ended too.
    Explaining to other members of the family and friends, that we may or may not have another grandchild and the process is an open one is challenging. Not least because it isn’t as straight forward as saying a baby /child is on the way. The level of disclosure is different.
    Distance as always creates tremendous barriers, which modern media does not solve. The option of being able to touch, hug, comfort and physically support just isn’t available. The deep seated relationships between families who are physically so close to each other cannot be replaced by technology. And although it is very easy to joke about the advantages of not being so close to each other that we can give you a tissue when you sneeze, it makes situations like this even harder.
    However, we too are looking forward and excited about being flat packed grandparents to a new member of our family. Why ‘flat packed’? Because so many distance family things have to be done 2D – on a screen and in an envelope.
    We are thinking of you all

    • Thank you Mum. Yes, yes, yes. What to say for all of us. I wish you were here too, and am so pleased you will be for some of this in a 3D version. Thank you for prompting a little more disclosure on what open adoption is to us. I promise it is to follow.

  8. Me

    We’ve had many phone conversations along the way and each time we talk I’m reminded of how nervous I was as we waited in anticipation with such mixed emotions.

    I admire the way you both are handling this. Not long now, my friend!

  9. Laura


    I don’t have anything more eloquent to say. So, we’re just sending you loads and loads of love and support and joy.

    • Thanks Laura. Could you load up that love with some of those amazing strawberries? What were they called something bois. I still think about them. Ok, they might not survive the journey. Hope you and the boys are doing well.

  10. Been thinking of you and my mom just asked how the adoption process was going. I’ve been so swamped, I haven’t had a chance to check. This is great, complex, soul-wrenching news. Always a journey. And this is why you were matched, you and Green and Bean can negotiate this whatever way it goes and all of you will work together for the sake of that little not yet born baby. Take care, darling. Whatever way it goes, you won’t want to have been anywhere else. Much love and hugs!

  11. Although I just met you today you are clearly a wonderful woman with a family full of love – can’t imagine a better match of families and I am so excited and anxious to follow along with your journey.

    There will be chocolate at the very least, promise.

  12. Congrats, Rachel – I think anyway. I hope it all goes through. What a horribly uncertain time, for Bean too. I admire you to be going for open adoption. I really don’t know if I could do that, if it were me. And kudos for keeping Beanie babe in the loop. You rock! Gillian x

  13. Wow! I can relate to all of that! We’re two-plus years into our open adoption. IMO you have the right attitude all round. Now I have my fingers crossed for all of you.

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